Bishop Silas, Councilors up in arms over rent arrears

Amos Tayebwa
Mbarara
The Mbarara based Pentecostal Church King of Kings’ Bishop Silas Tayebwa has been summoned by the Mbarara District Finance Committee to come and explain about rent arrears which they claim  to have been defaulted for over years.
According to the District Finance Committee, they have brought this issue on the floor of Council seeking for a recommendation from the house to summon again and penalize the owner of the famous Church King of Kings. The committee had recommended that Bishop Silas be summoned and be held by this  council for interrogation  why he has not paid his rent arrears demanded by this district. However Bishop Silas claims that there should be proper guidelines and clearance from the district to the tenants especially those who had applied for the lease.
While reporting to the Council during a recent Council meeting, Joseph Arinaitwe the Finance Committee Chairman put it to the attention of the house that his committee has summoned Bishop Silas a Tenant of Mbarara District to report to the same committee but he adamantly refused to comply. That the committee wrote to him more than two times asking him to come and explain about his rent arrears but the Bishop has been silent on the matter. Therefore, the committee resolved to bring this issue to the full council seeking for the action against the Bishop, however the speaker of the Council trashed it and guided that the issue of summoning the Tenants  should be handled through responsible committee not the full council. That the committee has the mandate to deal with tenants who have defaulted.
According to Councilor Arinaitwe, he said that as the committee they have tried to engage Bishop Silas about the matter of defaulting but no compliance from him. He said that King of Kings Church owes the District about 100m which has not been paid for a period of time. He said that tenants like  king of Kings and others that include MUBS, UMI have defaulted and they are stubborn in that they have been summoned by this committee and they don’t respond.
“We have tried to summon these people including King of Kings Church, UMI and MUBs Bosses but they don’t respond to our request and our demands. We have the mandate as the Finance  committee to summon every district tenant especially those that have defaulted to come and explain why they don’t pay rent but these one are stubborn. For example, Bishop Silas has taken long period of time not paying our rent and now we are summoning him for the last time if he doesn’t respond we Shall take legal process” said Arinaitwe Finance committee   Chairman.
According to the information, King of Kings Church pays 1m per month. Recently Bishop Silas was reported while requesting the government specifically the President  to write and direct  the ministry of Lands and Housing to give land to King of Kings Church and other prominent Pentecostal churches. He said that government should treat Pentecostal churches the same way they treat other religions.
However, Bishop Silas has disclaimed the 100m rent arrears saying that councilors are exaggerating on the amount  which the district demands him.  He said that its true he owes some rent arrears to the district but it does not exceed 100m as exaggerated. That he has the records and the rent arrears he knows is only about 26m which he has not paid for about two years. He further challenged the district that every business in Uganda was hit by Lockdown and the current t economic crisis.
Silas added that he has not been able to pay  because he has been waiting for the response from the same council  on his application about the lease which the district had accepted to give him but they have never responded.
“I applied as a tenant who has been on the district land for the last 14 years and council sat around 2018 and accepted to lease us this land and it was monitored I also received the minute, actually I was expecting them to reply to me saying that this is what you are supposed to pay for the lease but not rent. Because this is the same council that had accepted to give us the lease, they even gave it a minute,  I even have  here the same  minute which they made. We have been faithful for all those years while waiting for our lease. Therefore, let the district tell us which is which because we have no any information from them” said Bishop Silas.
On the issue of summons by the District Finance Committee, he said that he did not intentionally refused to respond, however, he has been up and down preparing elections for new offices of Pentecostal churches where he has been busy.
“I am not such a rebellious person that they summon me and I refuse to comply, its only that I have been handling our elections for the Pentecostal churches, actually I had wanted also to meet them and they explain to me on uncleared things.  Fist of all district does not demand me 100m, I can prove what I paid and what they demand me. Me I only know 26m but now for them they also want me to pay even  the time when it was lockdown which very unfair. But we also want to be clear, are they going to lease us and if  they are leasing us then why are they asking for rent. Let’s have one clear then we shall clear  everything but you cannot just come and say we need rent when some things are not clear. If they are not giving us lease let them give us process of how we should pay” he added.

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